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Cathy O’Dowd

Cathy O’Dowd

The Only Woman To Climb Everest From Both The North & South Sides – Author & Renowned Female Conference Motivational Speaker


Europe

Spain

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Cathy O’Dowd is an inspirational adventurer, the first woman to have conquered Mount Everest from both the north and south sides. Cathy is also a well renowned and highly experienced conference motivational speaker.

Cathy has been climbing ever since she left school. Before going to the Mount Everest expedition, she was teaching at Rhodes University. Along with her, 200 women applied for Everest expedition but she was the only one to be selected finally for the daunting expedition. Cathy took the decision to climb Everest from the north side in 1998. This was going to be a dangerous expedition, especially for a woman. She started climbing bravely but just below the summit, she had to give up as she found a dying American woman that she chose to save instead of continuing to climb. However, she returned in 1999 and conquered the treacherous mountain to become the only women to have conquered the world’s highest peak from both sides.

Cathy continued conquering peaks around the world after her famous Everest adventure. She went on to conquer Lhotse, which is the world’s fourth highest peak. She also returned to the Everest to climb it from the east using a new route.

Cathy O’Dowd is a popular motivational speaker. She has spoken to different businesses and organisations in over 30 countries in her 10 years career as a speaker. Her motivation and courage can easily transform people when she speaks to them. She promotes teamwork, leadership and adventure in her motivational speaking appearances. Residing in Spain Cathy travels regularly giving keynote presentations at conferences and to businesses. She is able to give her presentation in Spanish as well as English.

Cathy O’Dowd Keynotes x 2

‘Reaching New Heights’ – Teamwork & Leadership on the Slopes of the World’s Highest Mountain

Mount Everest: The highest point on Earth, guarded by vast flanks of rock, ice and snow. Of the climbers who tackle this challenge, 75% will fail, one in a hundred will die.

What makes the mountain so difficult? The obvious answers are crevasses, avalanches, blizzards. However, the most dangerous thing you will ever encounter on Everest is people: yourself, your team-mates.

The Message
Reaching New Heights draws on the lessons Cathy O’Dowd learnt from her first Everest expedition. With the focus on finances and logistics, the dynamic of the team was ignored. The team collapsed into conflict from the first day, and three members resigned before even reaching the foot of Everest.

Cathy and her team-mates discovered that there are key obstacles that have nothing to do with the mountain, but there are also overlooked tools that allow the successful 25% to triumph.

The Result
This exhilarating speech lets you join Cathy on the adventure. This is a real-world lesson in the reasons for failure and the keys to achievement. Most success speakers don’t talk about how wrong it can go, but Cathy shares the ways in which we create our own disasters and shows you how to overcome them, refocusing your team to climb to summit success.

‘Think Like An Explorer’ – Doing what has never been done before

With Everest, the world’s highest mountain, reduced to a queue of commercial clients clipped into a fixed handrail laid out by Sherpas, standing nose to backpack from base camp to the summit, it’s time for real explorers to step out of the queue and once more tackle the unknown.

The Mazeno ridge of Nanga Parbat – one of the last great challenges of the high Himalaya. International climbing teams had tried 10 times over three decades – and all failed. How would this team be different? And how did they adapt when their plan came up against the complicated, unexpected reality?

Cathy has turned this extraordinary experience into a case-study of the challenges of trying to do what has never been done before. She examines the pitfalls of operating in unpredictable, high-risk environments and identifies the key problems in executing ambitious plans in uncertain environments. Her analysis and solutions will help any strategic planner implement innovative objectives more effectively.

Why look for business insights from an explorer?
Cathy’s long career as an inspirational business speaker is founded in her ability to use personal mountain case-studies to deliver useful tools to business. Her stories are dramatic and engaging, taking audiences on memorable adventures while reinforcing key principle of team management.

Climbing teams face the same organisational challenges as business teams but with clearer targets and greater risks. It is easier to unpack issues that underly performance via a climbing metaphor, and easier to remember the solutions.

How does the Mazeno ridge apply to business?
Plans give structure to our actions and motivation to our teams. However, given the depth and breadth of interdependency in a globalised world, forecasting fails faster than ever before. When designing a certain plan is impossible, how do you provide effective leadership in uncertain times? Learn the art of flexible planning.

How do you drive change management when the change itself brings unanticipated consequences? Think like an explorer, adapting to the contours of unknown territory while still moving in the direction of your summit.

How do you encourage innovation when people cling to certainty? Give them effective tools to make sense of uncertainty and navigate through it effectively.

Tackle an uncertain world by learning to think like an explorer.

  • “Cathy has now been invited to speak at 2 events that I have been involved in. She is the consummate professional and has a unique way of capturing the attention of the audience with her own style of storytelling. Her experiences – incredible in their own right – provide a strong message in addressing areas of team work, planning, overcoming obstacles and ultimately success in the face of adversity. Very thought provoking and I would absolutely recommend dropping Cathy a line. If she is not off exploring some remote part of the world – she’s very quick to respond!”

    Mike Reilly, VP HR EMEA Wyndham Hotel Group

  • Cathy O’Dowd “Cathy has now been invited to speak at 2 events that I have been involved in. She is the consummate professional and has a unique way of capturing the attention of the audience with her own style of storytelling. Her experiences – incredible in their own right – provide a strong message in addressing areas of team work, planning, overcoming obstacles and ultimately success in the face of adversity. Very thought provoking and I would absolutely recommend dropping Cathy a line. If she is not off exploring some remote part of the world – she’s very quick to respond!”
    5 / 5
  • “What is the connection between climbing mountains and IT field? It is one and very important! You need for a TEAM to reach a mountain like Everest and you need a TEAM to be a performing IT company. I had the chance to listen to and meet Cathy at Microsoft Summit 2014, Bucharest. Her speech,” Reach for the Heights!” was the most impressive conference that I followed. I keep in mind a few from her words. 70% of attempts to climb Everest fails. What are the main causes? Bad weather, avalanches, crevices? Cathy says not. It’s more up to people, than to nature. It’s about team relations. It is easy to quit in stressful situation. Don’t find excuses in every difficulty you meet, just visualize the good parts so you can move further. Value is in each team member! Thank you Cathy for sharing your experience. You are welcomed anytime in Romania, climbing the mountains or at a software conference!”

    Valentina Pintilie, Team manager at F5 IT

  • Cathy O’Dowd “What is the connection between climbing mountains and IT field? It is one and very important! You need for a TEAM to reach a mountain like Everest and you need a TEAM to be a performing IT company. I had the chance to listen to and meet Cathy at Microsoft Summit 2014, Bucharest. Her speech,” Reach for the Heights!” was the most impressive conference that I followed. I keep in mind a few from her words. 70% of attempts to climb Everest fails. What are the main causes? Bad weather, avalanches, crevices? Cathy says not. It’s more up to people, than to nature. It’s about team relations. It is easy to quit in stressful situation. Don’t find excuses in every difficulty you meet, just visualize the good parts so you can move further. Value is in each team member! Thank you Cathy for sharing your experience. You are welcomed anytime in Romania, climbing the mountains or at a software conference!”
    5 / 5
  • “Cathy took us on an emotional roller-coaster ride through her first hardcore mountaineering experience up Everest and left some 100 manager/engineers from 12 countries and 3 continents exhausted but highly motivated by the experience. Well delivered, the speech contained all the allegories and metaphors we had agreed together on themes such as: safety, objectives, team work, adversity, change, etc. These could have been done in a very obvious manner but the approach was instead natural, not obvious and gave for a great and involving speech. Highly recommended.”

    Alain Wormser, Operations at Enel Green Power

  • Cathy O’Dowd “Cathy took us on an emotional roller-coaster ride through her first hardcore mountaineering experience up Everest and left some 100 manager/engineers from 12 countries and 3 continents exhausted but highly motivated by the experience. Well delivered, the speech contained all the allegories and metaphors we had agreed together on themes such as: safety, objectives, team work, adversity, change, etc. These could have been done in a very obvious manner but the approach was instead natural, not obvious and gave for a great and involving speech. Highly recommended.”
    5 / 5
  • "Thank you so much for your time out here - you won't believe the responses we got on your presentation.... The slides were incredible and the tragic moments added to the reality of it."

    Goldman Sachs

  • Cathy O’Dowd "Thank you so much for your time out here - you won't believe the responses we got on your presentation.... The slides were incredible and the tragic moments added to the reality of it."
    5 / 5
  • "Thank you so much for your time out here - you won't believe the responses we got on your presentation.... The slides were incredible and the tragic moments added to the reality of it."

    UBS Asset Management

  • Cathy O’Dowd "Thank you so much for your time out here - you won't believe the responses we got on your presentation.... The slides were incredible and the tragic moments added to the reality of it."
    5 / 5

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